ALTHOUGH no-one can state who did it and what harm it caused, there was indeed Russian interference in the 2014 independence referendum, according to a report going before the Westminster Parliament tomorrow.

According to The Sunday Times, the long-awaited report by the Intelligence and Security Committee on Russian meddling in British politics – the one Boris Johnson didn’t publish last year – is set to claim that the campaign for Scottish independence was targeted by Russians with links to the Kremlin’s security services.

Pro-independence campaigners have long insisted that Russian and other state actors interfered in the run-up to the referendum in September 2014.

Alyn Smith MP, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson at Westminster, said: “There’s not a doubt in my mind that there are bad actors active in the Scottish debate, especially online.

“I commissioned research years ago by a real expert in this field, and he found that 6% to 8% of Scottish Twitter is phony. That doesn’t sound like a lot but these are the accounts that just belt out tweet after tweet such as #dissolvetheunion and #usethemandate.

“It would be absurd if Scottish discourse was not being influenced by external forces. We’ve not seen the Russian report yet, but the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, probably to cover his own back, admitted they did find Russian involvement in the 2019 election.

“If they’ve done one, as night follows days, it seem they have done others. So we’ll see what the report says, but we all need to ca’ canny online.”

Smith contends that there are whole range of interferences, and not just in any one direction: “This not about the Russian people, of whom I am a big fan, but it’s the Russian regime which has been caught using tactics that friends and allies don’t use on each other.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrey Kelin, said his country was only interested in doing business with Scotland.

Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show if the Russians had any interest in Scottish nationalism or the break up of the UK, Kelin said: “Interesting idea, frankly.

“I do not believe that Scotland will withdraw from the United Kingdom, because as I understand it, for Scotland it would be very uneasy to leave, being separate from the United Kingdom. Our interest in Scotland is only one: we are open for business.”

Asked about the ambassador’s remarks, Smith said: “Delighted to hear it but don’t believe it. As was said during the Profumo scandal, which also involved Russia, well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”